The Top Things to See and Do in Folegandros, Greece

Take the winding path to the Church of Panagia in Folegandros, and you’ll be rewarded with a sweeping views
Take the winding path to the Church of Panagia in Folegandros, and you’ll be rewarded with a sweeping views | © Tuul and Bruno Morandi / Alamy Stock Photo
Samantha McCabe

Just a short ferry ride away from Athens and Santorini, you’ll find the Greek island of Folegandros. It stands out from the other Cyclades islands, thanks to its rugged wild feel and distinctive hilltop Kastro.

The tiny island of Folegandros offers a lot to do within a small area. Across the jagged cliffs and rolling olive tree-dotted hills, there are countless beaches, opportunities for adventuring at sea and, of course, a great wine bar or two. We’ve put together a rundown of the best things to do while staying on this Cycladic paradise.

1. Swim from Agios Nikolaos Beach

Natural Feature

Agios Nikolaos Beach
© Steve Bentley / Alamy Stock Photo

Agios Nikolaos Beach is a family-friendly beach, roughly 5km (3mi) west of the main town on the island. Brilliant turquoise waters tempt you in, with a backdrop of trees providing welcome shade. Once you get hungry, visit one of two traditional taverns nearby for a light lunch – before getting back to tanning and swimming. At the left side of the main beach, you’ll find the Agios Nikolaos chapel, gleaming white against the surrounding area.

2. Enjoy a tipple at Merkouri Wine Bar

Bar, Wine Bar, Restaurant, Wine

After a redesign by the new owner, Merkouri Wine Bar is back and better than ever, serving up local wines, European favourites and select cocktails. Located a short walk outside Chora, the island’s main town, the bar boasts a spectacular view of the vineyard and surrounding area, perfect for watching the sun go down.

3. Peek inside the Church of Panagia Folegandros

Church

Church of Panagia, Folegandros island, Cyclades, Greece
© Apostolos Mantzouranis / Alamy Stock Photo

The Orthodox Church of Panagia is easily spottable from Chora (and many other places on the island). You’ll see a winding road snaking to the top of a hill where the white domed building sits. The walk is pleasant, and you’ll be rewarded with a sweeping view of Chora and the entire west coast of Folegandros, which is even better at sunrise and sunset.

4. Go scuba diving with the Sea U Dive Center

Sports Center

This local business offers all things ocean adventure. Visit Sea U’s main office in Chora and bounce between all the available activities: scuba diving, freediving, snorkelling and even island-hopping. Folegandros’s location in the middle of the South Aegean, surrounded by other destinations like Milos, Kimolos, Paros, Sikinos and Santorini, is primed for exploring via chartered boat. No matter your experience level, there’s something to partake in.

5. Admire the view from Aspropournta Lighthouse

Historical Landmark

Once you’re at Livadaki Beach, a slightly more difficult hike at just over 1km (0.6mi) will take you to the lighthouse. It was built in 1919 and has been operational since 1921, plus it has been fuelled by solar energy since the 1980s. At 58m (190ft) above sea level, it offers an amazing view of the southwest side of the island.

6. Dip your toes in the water at Agios Georgios Beach

Natural Feature

Agios Georgios beach, Folegandros island, Cyclades, Aegean Sea, Greece, Europe
© REDA &CO srl / Alamy Stock Photo

Fine sand and gorgeous water views due north? Don’t mind if we do. Agios Georgios Beach is a sweeping path of white sand on the top tip of the island, accessible via a 10-minute motorbike or car ride through Ano Meria village. Check the weather before you go – this beach is known for its strong winds. On the positive side, you’ll likely have the place to yourself.

7. Learn about local history at Ikologiko Laografiko Mousio Folegandrou

Museum, Historical Landmark

Also known as the Folklore Museum, this museum will take you back in time. It’s housed in traditional huts of the 19th century, made of stone and mud – originally used to conceal residents from pirates offshore – and is filled with household items and agricultural tools. It’s truly the best way to glimpse what the lives of Greeks used to look like.

8. Stroll the streets of central Chora

Natural Feature

Greece, Cyclades, Folegandros Island, chora Folegandros
© AGF Srl / Alamy Stock Photo

Chora – as many of the main towns on Greek islands are named – is a study in contrasts: a cluster of blinding white buildings perched on a russet hillside. Spend an afternoon winding your way through the narrow streets, closed to car and motorcycle traffic, decorated with bougainvillea and hibiscus. The main Kontarini square comes alive after sunset with locals sipping wine and tucking into souvlaki.

9. Take a look around rural Ano Meria

Natural Feature, Historical Landmark

Saint George church in Ano Meria village, Folegandros island, Cyclades, Greece.
© Lefteris_ / Getty Images

Ano Meria is another small village on the island, a calm, idyllic locale spread over cultivated fields. Here, you’ll find Greek cafes, called kafeneios, which serve as a typical gathering place for men to chat and lounge. These days, of course, women are also welcome. Hungry after all that caffeine? Your next stop should be a local tavern for sharing plates.

10. Explore the picturesque Kastro neighbourhood

Historical Landmark

Also known as the Venetian Castle, this small fortress was built around 1215 to protect against pirate attacks, making it one of the oldest stalwarts on the island. These days, it’s a gorgeous cluster of residential buildings, with rows of bright blue shutters and stairs that were once used as seating by the former inhabitants.

Haven’t sorted your stay in Folegandros? Book one of the best hotels in the city now with Culture Trip. Explore more of the area and take a trip to not-so-far-off Mykonos. There, you can book a stay at one of the best hotels and chill out on the beach until it’s time for a well-deserved drink in one of the island’s best bars.

This article is an update of one originally by Ethel Dilouambaka.

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